Meet Valérie Schlumberger, the woman who changed history by building a social enterprise supporting Senegalese and Malian artisans. Inspired by La Maison Rose’s humanitarian care for young mothers, La Compagnie du Sénégal et de l'Afrique de l’Ouest (CSAO) is an association that aims to instill in women the skill of crafting, in order to support their families. The philanthropic Valérie couldn’t stop just there, as she also opened a CSAO Boutique and Gallery in Paris, making sure that these women would eventually face a high market demand, rendering a consistent income on a long-term basis. Her daughter, Odile, came up with the brilliant idea to teach La Maison Rose’s women the art of embroidering words, satisfying their literate thirst as well. Over time, these women learned to embroider words like “Bonheur” and “l’amour” and more complex calligraphies, earning themselves the job to apply their artistry to the great Christian Louboutin’s bags.
Along came the Africaba, a bag representing the fruit of the Christian-meets-La Maison Rose collaboration, and it is a wondrous symbol of well-achieved artistry, filled with joy and happiness. So lo and behold, a bag entirely made out of Senegalese embroidery, Malian yarn making, Italian leatherwork and a Parisian crowning touch. Talk about diversity!
Close your eyes and picture a bag that brings together philanthropic achievements and a hope for a better place, a bag that represents the magic of hope, connecting artisans from the four corners of the world and banishing women from a place called misery. Picture a bag that could change the world. Now open your eyes, and see before you the Africaba, a piece of art, whereby each version of it is exceptionally unique.
Perhaps the best thing about this chef d’oeuvre could be the fact that ten percent of its proceeds go to La Maison Rose! Care to get a hold of this pièce de résistance? The Africaba is now present in selected Christian Louboutin boutiques and department stores globally, from Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus in the United States to Selfridges and Browns in the United Kingdom and Antonia in Milan.
"Why has it taken my friend Christian and I so long to work together? Life is like that. I work with very poor women who are just learning the skill of embroidery. His customer expects the highest quality. Even when I said 'We're ready. Let's do it,' it still took us three more years to achieve the best samples and then to fulfill the first order. And now, we are ready for more!" - Valérie Schlumberger